Psychic Powers

Psychics & Mediums

Natalya Demkina – The Girl with X-Ray Vision?


Natalya DemkinaBorn Natalya Nikolayevna Demkina in Saransk, western Russia, in 1987, this paranormal talent claims to be able to make medical diagnoses by using ‘special vision’. It is reported that the ‘X-ray Girl’, as she was nicknamed by the Russian tabloid newspaper Pravda, is able to see organs and tissues inside human bodies and discover medical ailments the person may be suffering from. Since the age of ten, after an operation to have her appendix removed, Natalya (also known as Natasha) has been making accurate medical readings in Russia, in her own words “for a fraction of a second, I see a colorful picture inside the person and then I start to analyze it.” Natalya’s abilities were tested by doctors at a children’s hospital in her home town, where she was reported to have correctly diagnosed the illnesses of several patients, including one of the doctors.

After using her special vision to examine the patients, sometimes down to molecular level, Natalya is said to have drawn pictures of what she saw inside their bodies. She also apparently corrected a misdiagnosis made by a doctor at the hospital on a female patient who was told she had cancer. When Natalya examined the woman she only saw a “small cyst”. Secondary examination revealed that Natasha had been right and the woman did not have cancer.

After the news of Natalya’s incredible ability spread, the story was picked up in 2003 by a local newspaper and TV station, and eventually by British tabloid newspaper The Sun. This newspaper brought Natalya to England in January 2004, where she allegedly demonstrated her diagnostic powers successfully on Sun reporter Briony Warden, who had received multiple injuries after being hit by a car the previous October. While in England Natalya also examined resident medic of the This Morning T.V. show  Doctor Chris, initially making correct identifications of previous medical operations he had undergone, and then stating that the Doctor was suffering from various ailments including  "gall stones, kidney stones, and enlarged liver and an enlarged pancreas". Somewhat shaken, Dr Chris underwent a scan at a local hospital to discover how accurate Natalya’s diagnosis had been. He discovered that although the scan did show a possible tumour in his intestines there were no serious health problems.           

The best known and most controversial test performed on the X-Ray Girl’s paranormal powers was that organized by the Discovery Channel in New York in May 2004. The test, which was part of a Discovery Channel documentary entitled The Girl with X-Ray Eyes, was carried out by researchers Ray Hyman and Richard Wiseman from the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) and Andrew Skolnick of the Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health (CSMMH). The 4-hour long investigation involved seven test persons, one of whom was a ‘normal’ control subject. Natalya was given seven diagnoses written by doctors and was required to match at least five of these to the corresponding patient in order to prove that her abilities were unusual enough to warrant further testing. In the event Demkina was able to match only four of the seven correctly and thus the researchers concluded that she had failed the test and left it at that.

But matters were not to be so straight forward. Acrimonious disputes arose between Natalya’s supporters, who believed she had been unfairly dealt with, and the investigators. Demkina herself was extremely critical of the conditions under which she had been tested and the way in which she was treated. The research team responded by asking why Demkina had been unable to detect a metal plate inside one subject's head, especially as its outline was visible beneath the person's skull. However, Nobel Prize-winning physicist and the director of University of Cambridge's Mind-Matter Unification project, Brian Josephson, has also added his voice to the criticism of the tests carried out in New York. Josephson is of the opinion that the tests were set up to discredit Demkina, and that the odds of Demkina managing four matches from seven by chance alone would be 1 in 50. He believes that the results from the Demkina experiment should have been classed as "inconclusive".

Demkina’s New York experiment remains controversial to this day and is still the subject of heated debate on internet science and paranormal forums. But there are two points which are worth bearing in mind, the first of which is that before the New York test Demkina had claimed that she would be “100% correct” in her diagnoses, which was obviously not the case. Secondly, she had also agreed to rules which stated that to pass the test she would have to correctly match at least five of the diagnoses with the corresponding patients. For her complaints to have any validity, they should have been made before the tests not after. 

After the inconclusive nature of the U.K and New York tests Natalya travelled to Tokyo, Japan, where she underwent experiments with Professor Yoshio Machi, of the Department of Electronics at Tokyo Denki University, who studies claims of unusual human abilities. Demkina stipulated beforehand that she would only be tested under certain conditions, which included that each patient brought with them a medical certificate stating the condition of their health, and that her diagnoses were to be limited to a single specific part of the body - the head, the trunk, or extremities. The teenager also insisted that she was to be told in advance which part of the body she was to examine. According to the website Pravda.ru the tests were successful, with Natasha able to ‘see’ that one of the patients had a prosthetic knee, and another had asymmetrically placed internal organs. She was even able to diagnose the early stages of pregnancy in a female patient.

However, practically all the information for the Tokyo tests comes either from Demkina’s own website or from the Pravda.ru website, the latter hardly a reliable source. Critics point out that, as with Demkina’s tests in England, the Tokyo experiments were not performed under strict conditions nor were they subject to independent review. Sceptics have also noted that during the Tokyo tests Demkina was claiming to possess a completely different kind of ability to X-Ray vision, in the words of Professor Machi, she was able to “use her abilities . . . even on tiny passport photos . . . look at them and apparently see what the problem was. Her ability is not x-ray vision, but she definitely has some kind of talent that we can't explain yet."

Natalya Demkina still remains an extremely controversial subject, not least because she has reportedly begun to charge around $13 for her medical readings, describing the money as ‘donations’. Natalya performs between ten and twenty diagnoses per night each weekday, which gives her a salary far above the average monthly income of government workers in her home town of Saransk. In 2005, Natalya opened the ‘Center of Special Diagnostics of the Person’ (TSSD), a diagnostic and treatment center for patients in Moscow, where she is in charge of the ‘Office of Energy-Information Diagnostics’.

Demkina’s role in this office is to diagnose illnesses and supervise their treatment by other healers with unusual abilities. Not bad for someone who still hasn’t obtained a medical degree.

Sources & Further Reading

www.csicop.org/specialarticles/natasha.html - ‘Testing Natasha’. 

www.csicop.org/specialarticles/demkina.html - ‘Natasha Demkina - The Girl with Normal Eyes.’

http://demkina.ru - Official webpage of Natasha Demkina (In Russian).

www.skepticalinvestigations.org/Demkina - ‘The Demkina File’.

www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/propaganda - ‘Scientists' unethical use of media for propaganda purposes’.

© Copyright 2008 by Brian Haughton. All Rights Reserved.

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